It’s impossible to truly get away from D.C. traveling two hours south in Virginia. But Getaway is the appropriate name for Getaway, the tiny houses that’s not exactly camping, not exactly a hotel stay.
Getaway House is the ad you’ve been seeing in your Facebook feed. Their social media presence is fantastic since most everyone I spoke with about Getaway House was at least interested in the experience. The Getaway site is also good since it’s clean and somewhat helpful but does not answer every question, the biggest being the location of the actual getaway.
We’re not going to give away the location for the D.C. Getaway. It’s billed as near Shenandoah National Park. That’s true. It’s not in the Shenandoah Valley. Knowing that and the time it takes to drive there (you can enter your zip code and the site calculates the drive time to the Getaway property), some basic Googling will give you a good idea of the location.
Not knowing where you’re going is not comforting. It’s the worst part of the Getaway experience. But it also made the actual stay better.
You book your stay on the Getaway site. The two person tiny house is bigger than most hotel rooms and cabins in the area. It does not feel tiny. The four person tiny house can accommodate four adults but it seems better for a family. Unless you really, really like your friends, two houses may be best.
Once you’re booked, you’re given the location seven days before your stay. Then you check Google Maps to see where you’re staying. Then you’re disappointed because it does not look like how it looks on the site. Then you question if you’ve made the correct decision.
The day of your stay you’re emailed the name of your house (we stayed in the Felix) and your key code.
Once you arrive to the property, you realize Google Maps does not photograph private roads. The Getaway tiny houses look exactly how they look on the site. Exactly. It helps that the property is only a few weeks old and the house we stayed in were one of the houses used for the Getaway press photos. We were the second people to stay in the house, the first being the photographer. So it still looks great.
So does it feel like a getaway? Somewhat.
Your neighbors are as close as they’d be at a well maintained camp ground. We stayed in Shenandoah National Park a few weeks back to compare the two. Unless you’re backwoods camping, you have more privacy in a Getaway House than at Mathews Arm or Big Meadows. The cabins at Big Meadows and Skyland are further apart but due to the layout of houses and fire pits, once it’s dark Getaway feels more private.
One of Getaways functions is disconnecting. I had better cell service than inside my place in Adams Morgan. It’s actually more appealing as a place to do work after hiking in the park. It’s a lovely idea to disconnect but since you can actually stay connected, it’d be nice to work from a tiny house two hours south rather than a coffee shop in the city.
In fact, I emailed my boss during my stay requesting an all staff work outing. I would love to spend a week working from Getaway.
Not everyone has a fire pit at home. Each Getaway property has a fire pit, similar to camping in the national park. Unlike staying in a national park, each Getaway has a case of firewood and fire starter at your site you can use for a reasonable fee. While this may seem like cheating, who cares? We did not use the wood made available by Getaway. We used wood we purchased on the way to the Getaway. Why is that better? Why is that more authentic? Wood sold by Mennonites (we stopped by a market recommended by Getaway run by Mennonites) is not better than wood provided from a non-religious company. That being said, more fire tending tools would be nice. One more bucket to put out fires and at least one fire pit poker would have made things slightly easier.
If you forgot something like coffee or tea, they have coffee and tea and many more provisions. It’s way, way cheaper than any hotel minibar. It’s what you’d pay in any YES! Organic Market or Whole Foods. It’s the kind of stuff you’d find in a YES! Organic Market or Whole Foods. Once again, this ruffled some friends’ feathers. Why would you ever make pasta on a camping trip? Well then, don’t make the pasta available. Simple. Just because it’s provided doesn’t make it bad. We only tried the pour over coffee and it tasted better than the stuff found in Shenandoah National Park.
The also important part:
You don’t have to drive to get to the Getaway. There’s an Amtrak stop not too far from the site. There are local cabs from the Amtrak stop. We saw one available Uber during our stay (Lyft isn’t yet in the area.). It’s not a great idea to travel there without a car since most every decent hike is miles away, but it’s possible. It’s also possible to charge your electric car. In addition to a water pump, each plot has an electric car charger outlet.
The Getaway House is a really good idea.
The D.C. location is well executed. In fact, it’s a deal. It’s not cheap to stay near Shenandoah National Park. The nearest hotel, a Holiday Inn Express is $119. When was the last time you were excited to stay in a Holiday Inn Express? When was the last time you wished you could sit next to a fire and eat Smores (Getaway House provides Smores kits too)?
If you’re trying to convince someone that camping doesn’t suck, use Getaway House as the gateway drug.
If you’re thinking about purchasing a tiny house, this is also a great chance to try one out. It worked on us. As soon as we returned to D.C. I was comparing prices between cabins, plots of lands and tiny house models (Tiny houses can get expensive!).
But you can’t really getaway only two hours from D.C. The plot nearest to us featured an SUV with LOVE TRUMPS HATE on their rear windshield. The house nearest to the Getaway plot featured a truck with a Trump bumper sticker. There’s no getting away from politics this close to D.C